Henry Unga, Mackenzie MadsenThe story of Brave Little Lungs begins in 2011, when we met while working at the dreamy Sundance Resort in Utah. We were instant best friends; laughing like lunatics at jokes no one else seemed to understand and bonding over a mutual love for Christmas cabins, nostalgic music and poppyseed pancakes. Since day one, we knew that we were merely two halves of the same whole. In the years that followed, we climbed mountains, scoured thrift stores, mastered Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon and fell deep, deep in love. And in August 2015, we finally got married in beautiful Laie, Hawaii on the most perfect summer day in history.

Mere days after marrying, we were introduced to our greatest challenge yet: Henry was cut from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading team. Just kidding, Mackenzie was diagnosed with a terminal lung disease.

Mackenzie is from Spokane, Washington where she and her three younger siblings developed a love for the outdoors and huckleberry milkshakes. She’s a proud graduate of BYU-Idaho with degrees in recreation management and dance. Throughout life, Mackenzie has been an all-in-all blissfully optimistic life-lover; enjoying dancing, singing, and emotionally eating her way through the good times and tough times. Since being diagnosed, and in striving to remain positive, she has enjoyed discovering the hidden perks of lung disease and the meanings of life and love and loss (or, at the very least, pretending to know). She’s a self-proclaimed “artsy fartsy”, gravitating toward all things creative and funky. And she snorts when something’s really funny.

As the eighth of nine siblings, Henry is literally Henry the Eighth. Being a literature graduate, his passions include reading overly pretentious books (and pretending to understand them), succumbing to compulsive writing fits at 3:00AM, and secretly correcting people’s grammar in the middle of conversations. On any given Saturday, you’ll find him at one of two places: a thrift store (where he buys literally hundreds of books he’ll never read) or playing tennis (in an attempt to build up some glutes that rival Serena Williams’). Henry can eat more tacos than you and can proudly say he’s seen every episode of The Golden Girls.

Together, and now officially San Franciscans, we enjoy lazy mornings, exploring new towns, crying through Olympic commercials, and arguing about baby names. We both have big dreams of seeing faraway places, learning from fascinating people, and making a green smoothie with the produce picked from Oprah’s organic garden. But above all else, we really want nothing more than to bring people together and offer whatever we can to help make other’s experiences in this world a little more beautiful and hopefully a little more brave.